I rang the Brighton Argus yesterday and spoke to Jakki Phillips, the Features Editor. It's three weeks since the closing date for the Entertainment Writer job, and I'd heard nothing, despite e-mailing them 12 days ago. Jakki may not answer her e-mails, but fortunately she picks up the phone. She doesn't like to stay on it long though. I asked her about the job and she told me the position's been filled. So I politely asked if she can give me any information as to why my application wasn't successful. She said "No, we don't give personal feedback".
So that's all very helpful. If she ever gets the sack, I'm sure there's a career out there for her in customer services.
The irony is that the Argus could clearly do with a bit of help. Last Friday's issue of The Guide (the weekly pull-out entertainment section I'd applied to work on) featured Ricky Gervais on the cover, by dint of the fact that he was performing at the Brighton Centre this week. The 'Welcome' section on the inside page boasted that "our dapper cover star tells The Guide about his bizarre life in the limelight", and directed readers to the centre pages where Xenia Gregoriadis, their main entertainment writer, had produced a two-page spread on Mr Gervais. The heading stated "his new stand-up show deals with fame and all its trappings, as he tells The Guide", before reproducing a detailed interview with the man himself.
Quite impressive. Well done Xenia. Unfortunately Ricky Gervais hasn't actually told The Guide anything. Heck, he's probably never even heard of The Guide. Because despite claiming she has a direct line to Ricky's thoughts, Xenia has just lifted every quote, word for word, from an interview by James Rampton of The Independent.
Needless to say James doesn't get credited anywhere, but then you can't really credit your source if you're claiming you wrote it yourself.
The job advert for the Entertainment Writer position asked "Could you secure an exclusive interview with The Kooks?". They should have added "Because we clearly can't". The irony is that if they'd asked "Can you sit in front of the internet all day plagiarising other journalists' work, instead of writing anything new?" I probably wouldn't have applied.